Not sure what a website’s bounce rate is or why it’s important? Don’t know how to find and track your bounce rate over time or understand what you can do to make it smaller? If you are unsure about the answers to any of these questions, then this post will explain all you need to know.
What is your bounce rate?
Quite simply, your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on one of your web pages and then leave without visiting other pages. The bounce rate, therefore, highlights the number of visitors who reject or abandon your website and is an indication of how relevant or how useful they find it.
Why is your bounce rate important?
While it is unrealistic to expect a 0% bounce rate (some people click on links by accident or are simply inquisitive), the lower the percentage rate the more successful your website is likely to be. When someone has chosen to visit you and then bounces, you are missing out on an opportunity to interest and engage them, to sell to them or to develop long term relationships. What’s more, if you are attracting visitors using PPC ads, then every one of those bounces is a waste of your advertising budget.
How to find out your bounce rate
The easiest and most effective way to find out the bounce rate of your website and to check how it changes over time is through using Google Analytics. Google Analytics is free to use and fairly simple to set up. Essentially, Google provides you with a tracking code so that you can analyse your visitors and track their behaviour on your website. If you need help embedding the tracking code, there are WordPress plugins that do this for you – just cut and paste the code and it’s done.
Once Google Analytics is set up, you can see the bounce rate of your site and more importantly, see which pages get the highest rates and what kind of visitors are bouncing. Armed with this, you’ll have much clearer information about where the problems are and how to fix them.
How to cut your bounce rate
1. Make sure you are targeting the right people
High bounce rates are often a side effect of using keywords that attract the wrong people. For example, if you have a blog that intends to inform people about watches, you might find that a lot of people arrive at your website looking to buy a watch. When it becomes clear that there aren’t any watches for sale, they leave. What such sites will need to do is to use Google Analytics to find out which of keywords are attracting the bouncing visitors and then change the keywords on the affected pages in order to attract the audience you really want to connect with. You may also want to check the use of those keywords in any of your ads.
2. Poor website navigation
One of the major reasons why people only visit a single page of a website is because it’s not made clear to them where to go next to find out the information they want. This is especially important if you are wanting to guide visitors along a sales funnel. Aside from using menus and search bars, you need to make it abundantly clear what the next steps are and how to get there. Of key importance here is having very clearly written and highly visible calls to action (CTAs). Generally, visitors expect navigation to be in particular places (e.g., menus in the header, CTAs at the bottom of the page) and it is always wise to comply with those expectations to make finding things easy.
3. Increase engagement with recommended content
While websites can use personalised content to keep existing members engaged, this is more challenging for new visitors. What websites can do, however, is to create pages that are specifically aimed at new visitors and which include recommended content based on what previous visitors have found engaging. There are many website themes and plugins, for example, that provide widgets to display links to the most popular or most recent posts and products or related posts and products. These have been shown to improve clickthrough rates by 50% and thus reduce bounce rates by the same figure.
4. A mobile-friendly website
If you don’t have a responsive theme for your website, then it’s likely that smartphone users will be one of the visitor groups with the highest bounce rates. With mobile browsing now more predominant than surfing on a computer, chances are that the majority of your visitors are using a phone. If your website is not set up for viewing properly on a small screen, most people will leave straight away, taking their business with them.
5. Fast responding website
Most people are aware that slow loading websites can cause high abandonment rates. When it comes to bounce rates, however, it’s not just the loading speed of the landing page that counts. If the visitor carries out any interaction on the landing page, such as filtering products, inputting information, clicking a link to another page, etc., they expect a website to react quickly. Even if the original page loaded swiftly, if these things are slow, the bounce rate will increase. That can be especially problematic if your landing page has done a great job at selling a product but the checkout page takes too long to load.
The bounce rate is an incredibly important metric for understanding how successful a website is at keeping visitors on-site and funnelling them towards the pages you want them to go. Using the detailed information provided by Google Analytics, owners can find out what and where the issues are, while the solutions provided in this post can help address them.
To see our affordable, high-speed web hosting solutions, visit our homepage.